Shadow puppet, Bima

This puppet represents the character of the Bima (Bhima) in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. Bhima is one of the five Pandawa (Pandava) brothers and is recognised by his large thumbnail, that he used to attack his enemies. Mahabharata and Ramayana are among the popular wayang stories performed in the Javanese 'wayang kulit', or leather shadow puppet theatre tradition.Wayang kulit is considered the highest of the performing arts. Performed in the royal courts of Java as early as the ninth century, this tradition continues to be treasured as one of the pusaka or sacred heirlooms of the court. Wayang kulit is traditionally performed on ritual feast days and religious ceremonies. It has also been adapted for television and public education campaigns.

Indigenous Name
wayang kulit
20th century
Java, Indonesia
Object size: H85.4cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Mr. Suwanda Suna
Theatre Artefacts